FMS Hits the Road

The FMS team took to the California highways this past month to participate in several events promoting impact investment and social entrepreneur development.

Our first stop landed us in San Francisco at the SOCAP-Soul conference.  SOCAP, or Social Capital Markets, is an annual event series that promotes the development of the social enterprise and impact investment industry.  The purpose of SOCAP-Soul was to dig a bit deeper in uncovering the meaning behind our actions in social enterprise and impact investment.  Did we embark on a social project because of the projected impact? Or a potential financial upside?  Or was there something else motivating our decision… personal fulfillment, faith, spirituality, or maybe even guilt?

Speaker pane at Socap Soul! Photo credit: www.taramohr.com

Our favorite part of SOCAP-Soul was being able to share the success of Frontier Market Scouts with our earliest supporters as well as introduce the program to new players in the field.  As the day went on, it quickly became apparent in our conversations that the experience a Frontier Market Scout receives while on assignment is truly unique and un-matched by any other program or internship program.  Leaving the conference, it felt great knowing that the FMS program is supported by so many!

We’re looking forward to SOCAP ’12 this October in Ft. Mason, California which will draw thousands of social innovation leaders and movers and shakers from around the world to highlight the industry’s successes and discuss its most pressing challenges.

Later in the month, we traveled south to San Louis Obispo for the Cal Poly Social Entrepreneurship Forum on doing good while doing well.  FMS was invited to pitch our program to graduating seniors, faculty, and alumni along with other organizations and enterprises.  Our fellow “pitchers” were quite impressive, and included talented innovators from the Cal Poly Quality of Life Plus (QL+) Labs where students and faculty work together to design affordable healthcare technologies for returned veterans… and we thought we were doing cool stuff!

The pitchfest was followed by a keynote speech from the founder of Guayaki Yerba Mate drinks, David Karr, who along with 4 other co-founders commercialized the cultural cornerstone of Southern Latin America, Yerba Mate.  David and his team found a way to cultivate and market yerba mate not only in a sustainable fashion but also in a way that improves of livelihoods of the Yerba Mate farmers in Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. We’re continually amazed by enterprises that can “do well by doing good,” and Guayaki is an exemplary case!

April will be another busy month for FMS as we prepare for our upcoming June FMS training so our road-warrior ways have come to an end.

…for now, at least.

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